Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

Thursday, January 28, 2021
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Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

Learning happens in many ways, not just in the classroom. If you’re considering enrolling in a post-secondary program, it might be beneficial to explore Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition—also known as PLAR.

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Students studying in college amphitheatre

What is PLAR?

PLAR is a process that allows you to receive course credit in a college program for the learning you have gained through non-academic life experience, helping you to avoid duplication of learning.

You may be able to get recognition through PLAR for:

  • work experience
  • on-the-job training
  • independent study
  • volunteer activities
  • military service
  • travel
  • hobbies

It is important to remember that PLAR credit is not awarded for the experience itself, but for the learning gained from work and life experiences. In other words, having years of experience will not automatically qualify you for PLAR credit. PLAR gives you an opportunity to demonstrate, through an assessment, what you know and can do based on your experience.

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College students studying and reading together

How to apply for PLAR

Colleges typically have resources and/or advisors available to guide students through the PLAR process. At Fanshawe, Admissions and Pathways Advisors can offer an initial overview of the PLAR process and resources available.

At most colleges, college credit is assigned through PLAR by assessing your knowledge against learning outcomes. For this, you might need to put together a portfolio, write an exam, attend an interview and/or complete an assignment.

There’s an assessment fee when you apply for PLAR, mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and PLAR timelines and process will vary by college. It is a good idea to apply for PLAR in the semester prior to when you’d be required to take the course(s).

Visit our website for more information about PLAR at Fanshawe.

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